“It’s cancer, I’m sorry.”


Childhood cancer, is unlike any other. It is a journey, I never fathomed I'd live. It's a reality, I wish no child or parent, ever had to know.

Oh, cancer, I think it’s fair to say, it may just be the most hated word, EVER! Let’s face it when those dreadful words are spoken, “You have cancer.” – cancer instantly becomes your reality. There is no grace period, no time to process nor time to think. In fact, the moment you hear those words being spoken, everything around you freezes and grumbles, all at the same time; complete numbness.

“It’s cancer, I’m sorry”, were the exact words spoken to us, around 4:30 am on Monday, November 14, 2016. This day is one, that will forever be branded in my brain, with no small detail overlooked.

This is the day our greatest fear, become our reality – our daughter (3) had cancer. Just 7 days after celebrating her third birthday, and exactly 7 months after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. We found ourselves back again; Same hospital, same ER room (#7) and yet another life-changing diagnosis, even worse than the first – stage III cancer, Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor.

Brenley (our daughter), had a coconut-sized tumor growing off of her left kidney. Still, to this day, the emotions rush over me from time to time. Yet, it’s still just as impossible to put into words now, as it was then. Thankfully during this very poor delivery of such a diagnosis, Brenley missed it, peacefully asleep in my arms. As Josh and I broke into pieces, she then said, “Feel free to call whomever you may need, I will give you some time.”

It felt as if we were being given a timeline, to our daughter’s life, from a person we didn’t even know. As if we had only days left with our baby.

With my thoughts all over the place, just trying to remember to breath, I demanded answers. I wanted a doctor with real answers, not tomorrow, NOW! At this time, it was about 5:00 am, as we managed to call our family and deliver news that our daughter had cancer, with no other answers to give. Moments later walked in a woman with a computer. This woman was about to become our person.

She very calmly sat at the end of our bed, as she shook our hands and introduced herself, “Hello, I am Dr. Danielle Bell, I’m a 3rd year fellow with Hematology/Oncology unit. Please know we are going to take great care of your daughter!”

Then she proceeded to further, in detail, explain what I was feeling in Brenley’s abdomen, causing her extreme pain. After listening and trying to take it all in, I asked to see it; the CT scan of the tumor. As she turned around her computer, I could hardly believe my eyes. It almost engulfed her abdomen entirely. The images were unbelievable, how could something this large, be growing in such a tiny body, and for how long had it been there?

We spent the next hour, going over everything our exhausted minds could think of. This is where another new journey would begin, in ER room 7. With Josh, Brenley, myself and a woman, I am so grateful for.

It’s the moment life was put in complete perspective.
The moment I never imagined I’d be in.
A journey I never imagined I’d know.
The life I never imagined my child to live.
& a journey I never imagined I’d be thankful for.

ABOUT Alyssa


  • Monongahela


  • Other

Primary Treatment

  • Chemotherapy

Primary Cancer Center

  • Other


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